NEWS: Laurentian University cuts swimming, hockey to follow

Toronto, ON- Laurentian University cut its Voyageurs swimming program on Monday, and sources tell 49 Sports that the hockey programs will be eliminated as the university grapples with financial struggles.

Laurentian University fired dozens of professors and cut 69 programs in one of the most significant rounds of cuts in Canadian university history on Monday. 58 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs, which make up about a third of its course offerings, were axed by the school. 

The elimination of the hockey teams marks the second straight year that a U SPORTS program has been cut due to financial reasons. The University of Lethbridge axed its ice hockey program in April 2020, just over a year after hosting the 2019 U CUP. 

Voyageurs women’s hockey announced the commitments of seven athletes for the 2020-21 OUA season. Each of them and the other players on the roster are now scrambling for new opportunities. The men’s team has a commitment with OHL goaltender Cameron Lamour.

Several sources told 49 Sports that both men’s and women’s hockey players contacted coaches throughout U SPORTS in search of transferring. If they find a new school, U SPORTS athletes do not have to redshirt from an eliminated program.

The swimming teams, which were eliminated Monday had been in the eye of public interest for the last few months. With the Laurentian pool requiring repair,  a group of alumni donated $8000 to the program to help; however, the money went missing. 

In February, the Sudbury, Ontario school took a very rare and concerning financial step by filing for creditor protection under the federal Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The Act is designed for any business in Canada that is more than five million dollars in debt to have the opportunity to (under the supervision of the court system) restructure their finances in a way that can help them pay their debts.

The University’s finances were not pretty before COVID-19, and the pandemic has only worsened the situation. Among the programs cut is the competitive midwifery program. The Sudbury Star indicated as “a competitive and successful program that operates at capacity,” despite the University saying the program closures only affect those that “have had historically low enrolment.”

For more information on how this could impact athletics, 49 Sports analyzed the situation in February when Laurentian first filed for the CCAA. READ HERE.

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